Did Winston Churchill actually hate the Soviets and not really trust them?

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Lindele, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Just seen a note, that apparently around July 1, Churchill was thinking of an attack.
    True or fake news?

  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    What was the year you are referring to and what was the source of the note. I do not think that Britain had any gain from, and was capable of attacking Russia...... just as it was found to be so to counter Hitler's invasion of Poland by a British presence in Poland.

    WSC was at obviously against communism and there were those in the Western Europe in the 1930s who feared the spread of communism to a much greater extent than Hitler's totalitarianism.However WSC was at odds with those British of political influence who were described as appeasers of the Hitler threat to peace .Britain had already tried to influence events in Russia by coming to the aid of the White Russians against the Soviets in 1919 and I am sure that Stalin mistrusted the British but had to rely on the west if they were able to resist Barbarossa.Two years before, WSC's deep fear was that the security of Britain and France would be at risk should the German/Russian of August 1939 Pact bear fruit.

    As regards Russia and it communism ,it was simply a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". WSC went to tremendous lengths to seek the aid of FDR to keep Russia in the war and force the Hitler regime to fight a war on two fronts as had been the case in the Great War. Moreover it was also a case of exerting pressure on Hitler's war economy which could not outpace that of a united front of Britain and the US.When the invasion of Russia took place,WSC's biggest fear was that Stalin might sue for peace.

    Once FDR had stated that the US Neutrality Act did not apply to Russia,the scene was set for for Stalin's shopping list of military equipment to be met.On 8 July 1941, the US received an aid military order from Russia worth 2 billion dollars amounting to 3000 fighters and 3000 bombers.FDR was able to push this policy through despite the political opposition from isolationist senators and Republican journalists.

    It is interesting to see the FDR's policy being described as Lenin Lease.....are we fighting to make Europe safe for communism ....the only difference between Mr Hitler and Mr Stalin is the size of their respective moustaches .
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  3. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Harry, 1945 and the source was a news platform run by Telekom Germany
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Churchill hated the Bolsheviks for ideological reasons and was minster for war when Britain supported the whites in the Russian civil war.

    He had an embarrassing personal link to the Bolshevik leaders. His cousin was the sculptor Clare Sheridan. She was a fan of the 1917 revolution and visited the USSR. Her sculpting subjects included Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Felix Dzerzhinsky and Kamenev. She is believed to have had an affair with Trotsky.

    His support for the Soviets was guarded and could be characterised by his comment that if Hitler invaded Hell he would have a kind word for the devil.

    Whatever Churchill may have said, and he said a lot of different things, there is nothing in Alanbrooke's diary to suggest that the British government were doing anything other than planning to wind down the war in Europe and finish the war against Japan. WSC's priorities for July 1945 were to win an election - which he lost. (I was wrong see post#7 The matter gets a mention twice. on 2 October and 24 May.)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  5. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

  6. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Thanks. It looks like a response to a question from Churchill about whether we could restore the Polish government by force. The answer was a damning negative. The title gives it away.

    I was wrong.

    There is an entry in Brooke's diary on 24 May. He read the Op Unthinkable report that evening and noted that "the idea was fantastic and the chances of success quite impossible. There is no doubt that from now on Russia is all powerful in Europe."

    His post war annotations referred to a meeting on 2nd October 1944 when the Chiefs of staff discuss the foreign office response to the COS paper on the dismemberment of Germany. This paper discussed the possible future and distant threats. The entry for that day includes "The Foreign office could not admit that one day the Russians might be unfriendly."

    A few weeks later Churchill had expressed his anxiety of seeing "that Russian bear sprawled over Europe" and instructed the COS to examine from the military point of view the possibility of driving the Russians back to Russia before the Americans and ourselves demobilized our forces!.

    The paper does outline how the west would need to rearm Germany to face the USSR.
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  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Here is a resume on Operation Unthinkable by Christopher Chant.

    Unthinkable | Operations & Codenames of WWII

    It is obvious looking at the era that it would have been an irrational policy from WSC .It is doubtful that the initiative would not have received the backing of the British public after the long struggle to defeat the Hitler regime and before the Pacific war had been concluded.Stalin had yet to deliver his promise that he would enter the war against Japan after Germany had been defeated.

    The Russians had the benefit of having a manpower advantage of 3 to 1 and any conflict would have to concluded before the winter or the conflict would have been drawn out to be a protracted task. Further the General Election held on 5 July when WSC lost office to Attlee would have been a further consideration whether the initiative would be supported or not.I cannot see the Attlee government supporting the policy.

    It has to be said that this was the thoughts of Himmler when in the dying months of the war,he thought he could negotiate a peace with Eisenhower and present himself as a statesman for a future Germany.Himmler's vision was that the Western Powers along with the remnants of the Wehrmacht should prevent Russia from continuing their advance further into western Europe.This reflected the common view of the Hitler regime after the Stalingrad defeat that Germany was engaged in protecting Europe from communist domination.

    Himmler's vision came to nought but the distrust of Stalin continued after the war and became the bedrock for the creation of NATO in 1949.It was thought when Stalin died in March 1953,there would be change of Russian foreign policy from his successor but the distrust continued.

    Post war as tensions remained,the non parity of manpower numbers led to the introduction of battlefield tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Germany by US forces.
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  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    So prudent planning question rather than “Churchill wants to attack” Soviet Union?

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  10. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Nothing new in the West
    Arthur L. Smith wrote a book about it already in 1977, decades before the official documents were publicly released.
    Is sometimes used by certain historical revisionists to prove confused hypotheses:
    Arthur L. Smith, Jr. Churchill's German Army: Wartime Strategy and Cold War Politics, 1943–1947 . (Sage Library of Social Research, number 54.) Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications. 1977. Pp. 158. Cloth $14.00, paper $6.95
    After the dropping of the atomic bombs such map exercises became obsolete anyway
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Possibly a Churchillian romantic flight of fancy. He was prone to these.

    According to Brooke, the paper was requested on 24 October 1944 after a planning meeting about post war Germany. The Foreign Office refusal to contemplate a hostile USSR may have been the trigger for Churchill to think about the subject. This was a couple of weeks after the failure of the Warsaw uprising, which the Soviets did not help. Churchill had a sense of honour and felt a responsibility to restore the Polish government after the German and Soviet invasion in 1939. This was Britain's reason to go to war. WSC might have wanted to know whether there was an option for Britain and the USA to restore Poland by force.

    Without US support the idea was a predictable dead end.

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